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Published May 2002

Entrepreneur program
to make Everett debut

By Kimberly Hilden
Herald Business Journal Assistant Editor

Seattle small-business owners have had it for eight years, Eastside entrepreneurs for three; and Tacoma go-getters have taken advantage of it for two. This month, it arrives in Snohomish County: WNET.

What is WNET? It’s the Women’s Network for Entrepreneurial Training — a management series sponsored in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration that brings together small-business success stories, experts in a number of business-related fields and entrepreneurs who want to network and learn.

Everett WNET

When: 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. May 17

Where: the Northwest Women’s Business Center, 728 134th St. SW, Suite 219, Everett

Cost (includes continental breakfast): $15/$10 for WNET sponsors and their members

For more information or to register: Call 425-787-9856 or send e-mail to rosa.nwwbc@snoedc.org

Each meeting focuses on one topic. For example, in April, the Seattle WNET tackled “Finding Your Target Client.” Over on the Eastside, attendees were learning about “Financing Your Business,” while the Tacoma WNET presented “Taxes Take the Biggest Bite.”

Some meetings are roundtable in fashion, with attendees moving from table to table to discuss a certain topic, while others are training workshops, with presentations given on a single focused topic, said Carol Andersen, Women’s Program Manager for the SBA’s Seattle District.

Cost of attending each program, which includes a continental breakfast, is kept “really reasonable,” she said, with attendance fees ranging from $15 per session for the Everett WNET to $20 per session for the Seattle WNET. (Those prices are for pre-registration and don’t include sponsor discounts.)

Since starting in the Puget Sound, the WNET program has become a training tool that more and more small-business owners — both men and women — are taking advantage of, Andersen said, adding that there are about 152 WNETs nationwide.

“The first program in Seattle started eight years ago, and we at that time only offered four sessions (annually), and now we’re offering 10. It really grew,” she said. “Women wanted to meet more on a regular basis, and it gave them an opportunity to meet with other women business owners and corporate sponsors in an informal setting.”

A few years later, the Eastside WNET started, followed soon after by the Tacoma WNET. With the Northwest Women’s Business Center having opened in Everett in July, the SBA office set its sights on starting a WNET program here, with the center as a co-sponsor, Andersen said.

On May 17, the Everett WNET will make its debut from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. at the business center with a training session on “The Entrepreneurial Vision.” Led by Jamie Curtismith, Director of the business center, the program will help entrepreneurs — or those looking to start a business — put their ideas into action.

Other Everett WNET offerings for 2002 include:

  • July 26 — “How to Choose and Use Your Business Team Advisors,” sponsored by the Economic Development Council of Snohomish County. Attendees will learn about the skills necessary for business success and how to engage legal, financial and marketing expertise.
  • Sept. 20 — “Financing Options for Your Business,” sponsored by Cascade Bank. A panel of lenders and business owners will share their stories on obtaining financing for their businesses. Information on a variety of financing options, from traditional to alternative sources, will be presented.
  • Nov. 22 — “Marketing Your Business — Service and Product,” sponsored by Business Network International. A panel of business women will share their experiences of bringing a product to market, including having their product analyzed, designing the packaging, battling for shelf space, contracting with manufacturers, dealing with reps and handling the competition.

Other sponsors for the Everett WNET include the Everett Area Chamber of Commerce, the South Snohomish County Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. Department of Labor.

And it’s the sponsors that make each WNET program a success, Andersen said.

“No matter where we put this WNET program, we need to have community involvement,” she said. “We really depend on sponsors in that community to provide a lot of input on what women business owners’ needs are.”

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